8 FEBRUARY 2003, Page 24

Iraq's future

From Dr Franz Metzger Sir: I couldn't help wiping some tears of happy emotion from my cheeks when I read Mark Steyn's predictions of a golden future not only for the people of Iraq, but also for the whole Arab world once America had done away with Satan Saddam (This is not the time to wobble', 25 January). Alas, my forecasts are slightly less optimistic. The more likely scenario in, say, a year's time is this: Baghdad — and, of course, the oilfields — will be controlled by a 'democratic' government that has to be protected by a substantial inter national support force — international, as by then the US forces will have moved on to the next target on President Bush's hit list. The rest of the country will be left to the mercy of local mighties and will descend into a mire of corruption and tribalism. Everybody will wonder what has happened to Saddam Hussein — is he dead, is he hiding? — and the queues in front of the recruiting offices of al-Qa'eda et al. will have tripled.

Franz Metzger

Nurembe rg, Germany